I Need A Break To Appreciate What Has Happened To Me In 2021

Super League Triathlon Columnist 16x9 807b30fc 609b 4704 93ec 258eb9b26150

As I prepare for my last big race of the year it is surreal to think about everything that has happened to me in 2021.

When I first started writing this column I was injured. At that point I was thinking I might not even go to the Olympics, I wasn’t training – I didn’t even start running until April.

I was also talking about Super League, which seemed more likely but even so I felt negative about the fact I wouldn’t be where I wanted to be.

It’s funny thinking how everything has gone.

The Olympics individually wasn’t very good but coming away with a gold medal in the relay was amazing. Then if you’d have told me in Super League I would have won three of the four races I would have thought ‘no chance’.

Jess Learmonth Jersey 2021

It’s been a whirlwind year but I am really happy with how it’s gone. I can’t really believe it to be honest.

It’s so strange because people say ‘you’re an Olympic gold medallist, how does it feel?’ I can’t explain it, because I’ve not stopped and have gone from one thing to another, travelling and then coming back and we are still training when it’s chucking it down. The year is so backwards.

Training with G (Georgia Taylor-Brown) you can tell we are struggling. I know my race at the weekend in Abu Dhabi will go one way or the other. I will either do alright or be absolutely shocking because my training has been all over the place, but it’s more mental fatigue that is hitting me than anything.

Every year we need a break but because we didn’t race much over COVID and then went from that into the Olympics it made it harder. The Olympic postponement didn’t really change things, it just prolonged everything.

Super League 2021 Munich Womens Race Jessica Learmonth

Mentally it will be so nice to wake up and do nothing and reflect on things and take it all in. At the minute it feels surreal and it doesn’t feel like it’s happened.

It will be nice to see family and chill out and let it sink in ready for another year otherwise I will combust.

SUPER LEAGUE SURPASSED ALL EXPECTATIONS

I loved my first Super League Triathlon Championship Series. It was such good fun and certainly went way better than I expected.

I like to imagine races and how they will go but going into the first Super League race in London I couldn’t even do that because I had no idea how I would react, and that was daunting.

It obviously suited me quite well because it turned out it was really an endurance race. I thought the younger ones would be better because it was shorter but you are actually still racing for around an hour so you have to recover well and go again which is different energy systems being used which played into my hands.

Super League Jersey 2021

I am quite methodical with transitions and if you’re not like that it costs you in Super League.

It obviously went way better than I expected and it was really good fun. Looking back to where we went and being in Malibu and Jersey – I just loved it.

When I got home the reaction I got was people saying ‘that’s weird,’ because it seems odd from the outside to win three events, come fourth in the other and then be second overall.

I don’t feel it was unfair though. It’s like that in ITU as well with the points system with the last race meaning more. Also, G was very consistent as well. It wasn’t like I lost to someone who had just been there or thereabouts and then won it. She was second in every race. It was just the way it panned out.

Super League Munich 2021

It would have been nice to win but it was just that one person between us with Katie Zaferes there in the final race.

Four events back-to-back is very challenging. It was definitely a long month. I got to come home a couple of times and that really helped – if I had to stay in London I might have had a different perspective on it.

I think I would struggle to do a lot longer. It would be challenging mentally and physically. I also have to do quite a bit of aerobic training to stay fit so doing much longer I think I would deteriorate throughout as it’s hard to do much in between with the travel.

In terms of this Series and the length it was just right and we were really well looked after and that made it a lot easier.

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